Monday, November 30, 2009

Little Gems

I debated actually writing about this. I had a great long weekend at what can be described at a little gem of a place. I am torn at describing it because as much as I want to publicize it and bring development to the area, I hate to over commercialize it to the extend what makes the place special is lost. After debating it, I decided that eventually development will come and the best thing to do is warn about uncontrolled development.

The place is somewhere near the town of Nusugbu, about 120km to the South-West of Manila. The area is full of coves and small beaches that pretty much defines a lot of places in the Philippines. The more popular place to go near Manila now is around the Subic Bay area. But this place is different and I won't reveal everything but if you love rustic charm, this is a great place. It is relatively undeveloped because its actually rather hilly and roads are relatively new to the area. But in recent years, the wealthy have started to built weekend and vacation homes here including a number of big gated community development. There is even a golf course now. (I love golf but seriously, it has no place near the sea rich marine life because of the runoffs from all the chemicals they use. See what I mean about not wanting to over commercialize it??)

While its not that far away, it actually takes 2-3 hours to get there because almost 2/3 of the way are provincial roads. You have to pass through weekend tourist destination Tagaytay. This means the roads are full of motorised tricylces, jeepneys, trucks and buses. These makes going slow.

BUT after you get there, then what you see and experience especially when the weather is perfect like it is now, is simply relaxing and enjoyable. Let me put it another way, I felt like I was back at Monterey/Sausalito without the crowds and high-end shops and restaurants. There is no mall, there is no McDonalds although there is a Jollibee and they are building a Chowking which worries me. We hiked, swam, played badminton, a lot of cooking, eating and drinking, star gazing, reading, music etc. There was a lot of other things but I am not going to reveal them all to cause a stampede of spoilt tourists.

I will talk about one thing: Buffalo Milk or Carabao Milk. Its produced near Tagaytay and its delicious. It taste slightly sweet, creamy and tasty. I regret not getting the cheese and the yogurt. Those who knows Buffalo Mozzarella is a luxury item in Italy. Its supposed to be healthier has a unique taste. It is widely served fresh with olive oil, vinegar and a bit of herbs in restaurants in Italy and other Mediterranean countries. Its popularity continue to grow in US and rest of Europe. Its priced anywhere from US$35-$70/kg in the grocery stores in US. Its a lot cheaper here. Its one of the little gems around here.

In fact, this is what Philippine as a tourist destination is - its full of little gems to be discovered. I have a long list of stuff I want to try, see and experience. But I will keep the treasures of Nusugbu to myself and the friends who brought me there. Bargain tourists can stay away...

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